IT'S ALMOST DECEMBER, and in a few weeks we may gather with our families (potentially via Zoom) to sing “Away in a Manger” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”
Each of these songs depicts baby Jesus in a different way, from a poor, defenseless child to a newborn king. Each contributes to our faith in a different way. That tiny baby reminds us of Jesus’ humanity and his solidarity with the poor, while the incarnated Lord reminds us of God’s splendor and glory.
From these hymns to the latest Hillsong chorus, most songs about Jesus have been written by Christians for their fellow believers. Over the past 50 years, however, this has changed. Songs about Jesus no longer show up just in church, but also in discos, honky-tonks, blues bars, and strip clubs. Over the past 50 years, Jesus has appeared in hundreds of songs in every secular genre. These artists explore in their own unique ways the question that Jesus asked his disciples: “And who do you say that I am?”